Editor’s Note: For our very first thematic month competition, we’ve decided to explore the extremely personal theme of ‘Obsession’. After much internal deliberation, we settled on Katherine Khaw’s ‘Vined’, a delicate poem that not only showcases her obsession and adoration, but successfully blurs the fine line between a gentle caress and a chokehold. Perhaps, she’s just really into gardening? Reading it felt like spending a warm, sunny afternoon outside: the heat and humidity thread on the line of discomfort, but you stay out anyway.
VINED by Katherine Khaw
You are a flower, sweet and gentle, patiently waiting to bloom in this fresh field.
You are my flower, the crown of hair soft as petals, drops of water catching on its thin edges.
You, my flower, blush a beautiful scarlet, voice honeyed and irresistible.
My flower, lean and petite, how much I want to hold your fascinating self.
Mine, and mine alone, my flower, if others see your brilliance I will take you by the root and keep you in the greenhouse, if this will save you.
My rose, you are so unassumingly pure, you have loosen your thorns.
Mine, I have traced you entirely: top to bottom, the petal’s tip to the very leaf.
Mine, all mine, I will choke you with weeds if you cheat a smile on me with another in the warm sunlight.
So let us lay together in this greenhouse, my rose.
Why do you quiver just because my love grips your marked wrist ever so tightly?
You cannot run from me: I am the thorn in your pale flesh.
Oh, my dear rose — it seems that all your trembling has caused your pretty petals to fall.